Mag­nif­i­cent Marx an in­spi­ra­tion as Lions maul the Waratahs

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - SPORT - JAC­QUES VAN DER WESTHUYZEN

................................... (19) 44 Smith (2), Dyan­tyi, Marx (2), Skosan; Jan­tjies (4); Jan­tjies (2)

.......................... (19) 26 Hani­gan, Fo­lau, Robert­son, Gor­don;

Fo­ley (3) a men­ace at the break­downs, Kwagga Smith, who also got a brace of tries, and Franco Mostert, the Lions sim­ply out­played and out-pow­ered their Aus­tralian op­po­nents.

But the home team didn’t have it all their own way. The Tahs, es­pe­cially their backs, asked plenty of the Lions and they played un­til the 80th minute; the likes of Is­rael Fo­lau, Kurt­ley Beale and Cur­tis Rona keep­ing the home team on their toes through­out.

But the Lions’ ex­pe­ri­ence came through in the end; their for­wards lay­ing the foun­da­tion for the vic­tory and their pa­tience re­warded at the end.

The Tahs en­joyed a sen­sa­tional start by scor­ing tries through Ned Hani­gan and Fo­lau in­side 10 min­utes; the Lions slip­ping off sev­eral tack­les in both scores.

But the Lions never pan­icked and the longer the game went on the more dom­i­nant they be­came. Their ef­forts, and pa­tience, were re­warded when Smith bust through sev­eral tack­les to get him team on the score­board and then in the 27th minute wing Aphiwe Dyan­tyi lit up his home ground, like he’d done ear­lier in the sea­son.

In space, in his own half, he chipped the ball over the ad­vanc­ing Waratahs play­ers, gath­ered it and showed tremen­dous pace to out­strip the cover de­fence to score a won- der­ful try.

The Lions were just two points be­hind their op­po­nents and then went ahead when Marx went over from a driv­ing maul.

The Tahs though

hit back on the stroke of half­time when prop Tom Robert­son scored fol­low­ing a well­worked move at the front of a li­ne­out. At 19-all, it was an even con­test at the break.

And while the vis­i­tors started the sec­ond half in the same fash­ion as the first half, by throw­ing the ball around and run­ning at the Lions from all parts, it was the home team who made the first telling move.

El­ton Jan­tjies slot­ted a penalty to get his team ahead and then Marx got his sec­ond try, again via the driv­ing maul.

Re­place­ment loose-for­ward Mar­nus Schoe­man brought en­ergy and pace to the game and the Lions con­tin­ued to keep the Tahs pinned in their own half.

Smith then got his sec­ond try after some smart work at a ruck and at 34-19 up the Lions were on their way to the fi­nal. A late Jake Gor­don try for the Tahs gave the vis­i­tors some hope to­wards the end of the match, but the Lions sealed the match with a late Court­nall Skosan try, who col­lected a well-ex­e­cuted cross-field kick by Jan­tjies.

It’s off to Christchurch then, a place few teams have gone to and won in re­cent times.

The Lions though will al­ways be­lieve they’re in with a chance. And why not?

BACKPAGEPIX

MAN OF THE MO­MENT: Mal­colm Marx cel­e­brates a try with his Lions team­mates as Cur­tis Rona of the Waratahs watches on.

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